Federal Council takes note of the joint report on International Geneva and its Future

Bern, Press releases, 27.06.2013

The Federal Council in its meeting of 26 June took note of a report on ways to strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of Switzerland as a host state by further strengthening the role of International Geneva. Entitled International Geneva and its Future, the report was jointly written by the Confederation, the Republic and Canton of Geneva and the City of Geneva. It proposes specific measures to deal with the increasing material and strategic challenges that Switzerland, and Geneva as a centre of global governance, now have to face.

Switzerland, thanks to International Geneva, is today the foremost centre of global governance, with over 2,700 international conferences and gatherings every year and 30 international organisations (IO) based in the region. About 200,000 experts and delegates and 3,000 heads of state, heads of government and ministers visit the city every year. The city hosts 172 permanent missions and an international community of more than 42,000 persons.

International Geneva is a major asset to a Swiss foreign policy because of the influence that our country acquires as a result of the city’s prominent role. It also benefits our domestic policy, providing privileged contacts with federal offices and information that is essential for the development of specific policies. Its importance for Switzerland as a whole is such that we can refer to International Switzerland thanks to the prominent role of Geneva. The impact of Geneva considerably exceeds the regional level. It is an opportunity and challenge that concerns the entire country.

However, International Switzerland, through Geneva, and its host state policy, is now faced with rapid changes in the international environment. Global governance is becoming more fragmented, there is increased competition from emerging states and IOs and their member States are experiencing budget problems as a result of the financial crisis.

To tackle these challenges the Federal Council believes that it is necessary to strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness of Switzerland as a host state and as a centre of global governance. The strategy that it has adopted for this purpose is the result of the work of the International Geneva task force created in November 2012 by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). This body worked together with the Permanent Joint Political Group (GPCP), a forum for dialogue between the Confederation and the Canton, with which the  City of Geneva is associated. There are two main pillars of this strategy, and  six priorities.

Improvements will be made to the host state instruments, especially in the renovation of buildings and equipment. The strategy also stresses the need to develop Genevan and Swiss training, reflection and know-how in the field of global governance, for example by anticipating topics that are likely to be on the international agenda and by enhancing the profile of the actors in Geneva  dealing with these subjects. Potential synergies resulting from the unique ensemble in a single location of international organisations, permanent missions, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions also need to be exploited more effectively. A joint observatory will be established to closely monitor developments in the international sector in Geneva.

The implementation of this strategy means that communication on Switzerland's host state policy and cooperation between the authorities concerned will also need to be strengthened. A think tank known as "Geneva +" will be established, with a mandate to discuss the future challenges of International Geneva and the evolution of global governance.

For further information:   

Jean-Marc Crevoisier
Head Information FDFA
+41 (0)79 763 84 10

Further information:

International organizations in Switzerland

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Information
+41 (0)31 322 31 53


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Bern, Press releases, 27.06.2013

With the free itineris app, travellers now have smartphone access to travel advice from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. They can also directly register to the itineris internet registration platform and, in the event of an emergency, contact the FDFA Helpline. At a press briefing, Gerhard Brügger, Head of the FDFA's Consular Directorate, informed the media about the FDFA's new services.

The Swiss are among the world's most enthusiastic travellers. To prevent a dream holiday from turning into a nightmare, the FDFA is continuously expanding its range of services for Swiss nationals travelling abroad. The current range of services includes a brochure entitled "If you are planning a trip" (available in German, French and Italian), a travel checklist with useful tips, travel advice on 176 countries, and the FDFA Helpline. At the end of 2012, the FDFA also launched the itineris internet platform, where travellers with Swiss citizenship can register details of their travel destination, any people they are travelling with, and how they can be reached in an emergency. The service has proved very popular, and already boasts some 25,000 registered users. There have already been about 20 cases in which the FDFA has been able to quickly send information about significant changes in the security situation in various travel destinations to people who had voluntarily registered with itineris.

At a press briefing, Gerhard Brügger, Head of the FDFA's Consular Directorate, together with other FDFA representatives, provided information about the latest services for people travelling abroad. Travellers with a smartphone equipped with an iOS or Android operating system are now able to download the free itineris app in German, French or Italian. The app offers them current FDFA travel advice around the clock and around the world on the security situation in their travel destination. They also have worldwide access to the intineris platform. Travellers who need the assistance of a Swiss representation abroad can also use the app to find the relevant address details and opening times on Google Maps to contact the representation directly. In an emergency, they also have the option of contacting the FDFA Helpline 24/7 by phone at 0800 24 7 365 or by email. Since 2011, the FDFA helpline has answered some 60,000 enquiries, mainly concerning visa, marital status, citizenship and residents' registration issues.

Another innovation is the FDFA Helpline Flyer, which was published today in four languages and provides information about the FDFA's travel advice, itineris and the FDFA Helpline. Like the brochure and the travel checklist, the Helpline Flyer can now be ordered from the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FBL). The Helpline Flyer is addressed to private individuals and to travel agencies, which hand it along with other travel documents to their customers. The Helpline Flyer will also be inserted in every newly issued Swiss passport.

During the press briefing, Gerhard Brügger pointed out that on any given day, numerous Swiss nationals find themselves in emergency situations abroad, and that these latest innovations will not be able to prevent such situations. He noted that last year alone, the FDFA provided consular assistance to Swiss citizens involved in thousands of incidents, primarily accidents, illnesses, deaths, and arrests. He also stressed that good preparation and planning are the best form of travel insurance.

Further information:
George Farago
FDFA media spokesperson
Tel. 079 301 70 35
Email: georg.farago@eda.admin.ch

Further information:

itineris app for Apple-Store
itineris app for Android
Travel advice (de, fr, it)
Travel advice on Twitter: travel_EDA-DFAE (de, fr)
Order Helpline Flyer (art. 201.203)
Order Broschure "If you are planning a trip..." (de, fr, it) (art. 201.200)
Order Travel checklist (art. 201.201)

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs